Type 2 diabetes is incredibly common these days and it has the ability to affect every part of your body, right from your eyes to your feet. One of the best ways to prevent diabetes to mess with your body anymore than it already has is to go for routine tests and health checkups. These tests will identify potential problems at their very onset that is necessary to prevent complications and provide effective treatment.
Did you know that you can prevent many diabetes complications by simply keeping up with your check-up schedule? Your doctor can identify potential health issues in their early stages through simple blood tests for diabetes and offer proper treatment options based on your condition.
Who needs to undergo diabetes tests?
Diabetes symptoms may not show up in its early stages. However, if you notice one or more of the following symptoms, then you should get yourself tested immediately.
- Feeling of fatigue all the time
- Feeling hungry even after full meal
- Feeling thirsty more frequently than normal
- Poor and unclear vision
- Taking more trips to the washroom than normal
- Cuts or wounds are taking longer than usual to heal
While these are the common telltale signs of diabetes, some people should be tested even if there are no symptoms. People who have a body mass index greater than 25 are categorized as overweight and should consider testing for diabetes. You can also consider getting tested if you have a family history of diabetes. People who have low levels of physical activity or high blood pressure should also get a diabetes test done. Women with a history of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or over the age of 45 automatically qualify for diabetes test. Some people actually do not have any symptoms and observe an abnormal blood sugar level that is an indication of an onset of diabetes only during a routine health check.
Here are the common diabetes tests that you must get done, depending upon your condition.
- Blood tests for diabetes
- A1C test
The best way to determine the levels of blood sugar over a period of time in the body is to go for HbA1c testing. The HbA1C test, also known as glycated haemoglobin test is done without fasting and can estimate the blood sugar levels over a period of 2-3 months. In this test, only a small amount of blood is collected and HbA1c level in it gives out the average blood sugar in the last three months. If your reading is less than 5.7%, then it means that you are non-diabetic. Reading between 5.7% to 6.4% is a sign of prediabetes and anything equal to or more than 6.5% is a red flag sign of diabetes. Pregnant women or people with special haemoglobin variant, however, may show different results to HbA1C test, making the test results erroneous. In this case, your doctor may recommend other diabetes tests.
- Fasting blood sugar (FBS) test
This test involves drawing of blood after an overnight fasting. The person, in this case, will be required to fast for a period of at least 8-12 hours before they can go for the tests. Anything less than 100 mg/dl indicates normal blood sugar. Result ranging between 100-125 mg/dl is a sign of prediabetes and anything equal to or over 126 mg/dl indicates diabetes.
- Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT)
The OGTT is a two-hour test that checks your blood glucose levels before (FBS) and 2 hours after you drink a special sweet drink made from 75-gm of glucose as per World Health Organization guidelines. It tells the doctor how your body actually processes glucose. Diabetes is diagnosed at 2 hour blood glucose of greater than or equal to 200 mg/dl. Result within the range of 140-199 mg/dl is a sign of prediabetes, and anything below 140 mg/dl is normal.
- Random blood sugar test
A random blood test does not take fasting into consideration and blood can be drawn at anytime of the day, regardless of when you last ate. A result more than or equal to 200 mg/dl along with symptoms of diabetes stated above may indicate diabetes. But another blood sugar test should be done to confirm the diagnosis.
- Blood pressure It is known that diabetes and hypertension can occur simultaneously. This not only increases your risk of a stroke but also heart attack. Experts suggest that one should get their blood pressure checked from time to time and discuss any observations with their primary doctor for deeper diagnosis. It is recommended to check your blood pressure every 3-6 months and keep a track of the results. A diabetic person must maintain their blood pressure between 140 mmHg systolic (upper) and 90 mmHg diastolic (lower).
- Lipid Profile When you are suffering from diabetes, you are exposed to greater risk of heart diseases. This is the reason it is important to have a blood test for lipids like cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglycerides checked as part of your annual checkup. If your lipid levels are high, your doctor should know about it.
- Eye examination: When you have a high blood sugar, it can lead to micro-vascular damage. It is highly recommended to go through diabetic eye exams at least once a year. Checking for early diabetes complications through the signs of diabetic retinopathy, edema or swelling inside eye, glaucoma and cataract.
- Kidney Function Tests: These tests are done to check if your kidneys are functioning optimally. The ratio of microalbumin (a protein called albumin in urine) and creatinine (a waste byproduct created by muscles) tells your doctor if your kidneys are functioning the way they should. This test should be done at least once each year.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG): If you are over 50 years of age, then make sure that your doctor includes an electrocardiogram in your routine medical tests. Symptoms of a heart disease are hard to spot, especially in someone who is suffering from diabetes.
Primary diabetes healthcare
Your primary doctor plays a huge role in keeping diabetes at bay. However, if you feel you need further assistance to control the condition and may need more drugs to curtail it, then don’t hesitate to contact an endocrinologist.
When you work closely with your endocrinologist/doctor, you can ensure that the problem does not aggravate anymore than it already has. This is why you should get all your tests and checkups done regularly.
Keep a track of all the anomalies you notice and discuss them with your doctor for early detection of the disease. At the same time, follow a healthy lifestyle of balanced diet and regular exercise to keep diabetes and other diseases at bay.